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European Minorities Exchange
Aug 3 - 11 2019 Indianapolis, IN
In August, ACYPL partnered with the U.S. Embassies in Spain, the United Kingdom, Belgium, and Germany to welcome a multi-country delegation of eight young leaders who represented diverse, minority, or migrant backgrounds. Each of the delegates was involved in some way in minority or migrant cultural and political relations and advocacy.
While in Washington, D.C., the delegates met with a variety of individuals and organizations who could speak to issues which positively or adversely affect minority populations. The delegations most enjoyed meetings at The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and with Uber’s Head of Global Policy, Accessibility, and Underserved Communities, Malcom Glenn [ACYPL Alumnus to Mexico 2019]. For a broad view of U.S. politics, they met with Ashley Etienne, the Communications Director for Speaker Pelosi and a former Special Assistant in the Obama White House. The delegates found Ms. Etienne’s observations from inside our highest offices to be informative and inspirational as she has accomplished many ‘firsts,’ including being the first woman of color in her current role. Meetings with the International Republican Institute, the U.S. State Department, and USAID offered insight as to how the United States engages with the world.
The delegation traveled to Indianapolis and were hosted by ACYPL alumni Catherine Seat [Taiwan 2018] and Pete Seat [India 2015]. At a meeting with the Indiana Republican party to discuss targeted campaigning and voter outreach, the delegation had the chance to see how our national politics are distilled and digested by individual voters. They also met with the Indiana Immigrant Welcome Center and the Indianapolis Latino Institute. In these meetings, delegates had the opportunity to trade best practices with these American institutions. It was also a great leveler in that these individuals from all over Europe found common challenges and successes with these Midwestern organizations, who just like them, are figuring out how to tackle the challenges of community integration and minority protection.
The juxtaposition of the East Coast and Midwest experiences was the highlight of the program. The delegates saw the diversity of Washington, D.C., then immersed themselves in Midwest culture through line dancing, attending the State Fair and watching a WNBA game hosted by Mel Raines [Brazil 2007]. The delegation was impressed by American unity in diversity. One delegate commented that he could find “the spine of national identity” that unites Americans and attracts our immigrants. Although they discussed the challenges American society faces, the delegation walked away with an understanding of how the United States continues to be enriched and enlightened through its diversity.